Building a Framework of Success


What Makes a Company a Great Place to Work?

For Barton Malow, from the vantage point of 100 years in business, it’s the alignment of values, culture, vision, and people. It’s why today’s Barton Malow places so much importance on team member engagement and its ability to foster communications, collaboration, respect, accountability, and empowerment.

From the beginning, embedded in the natural instincts and business acumen of co-founder C. O. Barton was the importance of giving team members what he described as “a better deal than anything else” to ensure they would remain loyal and hard working. This approach helped Barton Malow foster growth and success. Continued by generations of Barton Malow leaders, doing right by all who work for the organization proved that delivering on a culture of caring, service, and accountability was the way to create team member engagement, pride, and respect.

Senior VP of Talent + Organization Development Jennifer Sulak Brown leads the team responsible for bringing the highest level of team member engagement and performance to Barton Malow. For Jennifer, the benefit of team member engagement is a whole company “working on a common goal to do great things.”

Barton Malow Celebrates, team member engagement and appreciation event

Jennifer at the annual team member recognition event Barton Malow Celebrates.

“In the future, enterprise growth will be found in discovering ways to preserve the caring culture while ensuring consistent, sustained, positive financial results.”

"Do you have to potentially forsake aspects of your culture to be high performing, or can you potentially have both? And we have said a stated strategic objective: to foster a caring and high-performing organization."

Ryan Maibach


Building Blocks of Team Member Engagement

“When we talk about team member engagement, it’s really about creating a motivated and engaged workforce,” says Jennifer. “We believe that if team members love what they’re doing, in turn they’re going to provide a better service and a better output to our clients.”

Building an organization that both reflects its values and provides pathways to higher performance requires great diligence and intention. That’s why Barton Malow leaders and team members focus on areas fundamental to building engagement.

Find the Right People

“We’re very selective about the team members we hire, and we follow the premise (that) the ideal team player is humble, hungry,” Jennifer says. “You have a level of drive, and you have smarts, which was really around emotional intelligence.”

Create Great Managers

When teams have great managers, team members feel engaged, challenged, supported, and inspired to perform outside their comfort zone. They have a voice in the process and an understanding of how they fit into the bigger picture. That’s why Barton Malow, in partnership with the Learning + Development team, trains people on how to be the best managers possible.

“People leave managers, not companies,” says Jennifer. “If you have a great manager and you work for a great company, we find that teams tend to engage with each other better. They have communication, they have context, they’re appreciated.”

Start Off Right

The road to effective engagement starts during the onboarding process where team members are immersed in all things Barton Malow. Known as “EDGE,” this two-day program gives new-hires an overview of the enterprise and its history, structure, core purpose, and values. New team members form cohorts with their peers to provide guidance and help build connections beyond their immediate work colleagues.

Team members sitting in the Barton Malow EDGE orientation, team engagement

Team members participating in Barton Malow's comprehensive onboarding program, EDGE.


For the past decade, Barton Malow has been bringing people together to facilitate and enhance communications across the entire organization. Stemming from Ryan Maibach’s passion for creating a positive culture, Barton Malow hosts virtual “Huddles” to bring transparency and context, and share information and activities throughout the organization.

Surveys provide data to make important changes and to facilitate pivoting quickly with an emphasis on leadership development and expectations.

The annual internal COMPASS conference is another example of engagement that brings team members together for information sharing, formal training, connecting with leadership, networking, and more.

CEO on stage at Barton Malow team member conference COMPASS for team engagement

COMPASS provides an opportunity for team members to come together, hear directly from leadership, and network.

The Benefits of Engagement

The results are clear. Barton Malow team members feel more engaged, heard, supported, and challenged. The company experiences a much lower turnover rate compared to the rest of the construction industry. And there’s a direct impact on profitability; with the investment of time, energy, and resources in team member engagement, revenue and earnings continue to grow.

“If we have to work for a living, we might as well have a job we love, and feel appreciated, and feel like we’re adding value,” says Jennifer. “It has an impact on the person, their friends and family, as well as Barton Malow and our client success.”

In a 1972 letter from Carl Barton to Ben Maibach Jr. detailing the history of Barton Malow, it’s clear that melding high-performance with a caring culture was the high watermark from the start.

“One of my greatest satisfactions was to try and organize the jobs so that the whole crew worked well together,” Barton wrote. “I am happy that Barton Malow carried on the traditions I started, of giving high priority to the welfare of its employees and customers.”

And honoring those traditions, Barton Malow believes, is best accomplished by working as one engaged, energized team.

Interested in joining our team? View our current openings.

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